Getting Lost In A “Driveway Moment”

When the OPB Radio pledge drive is in full effect, they talk a lot about “driveway moments,” those times where you’re so intrigued by a story that you’d rather stay in the car and listen than get out and on with your day.

This morning I heard such a story on Morning Edition — psychology professor Colin Ellard talking about getting lost.

These days, people take along a compass when hiking or a GPS while driving, but there’s still the potential for being completely confounded. Some tips that Ellard suggests? Make up a story about something nearby to remember a certain spot (like where you parked your car) and when you get really lost, you should just stop.

Ellard also mentioned that wilderness can be especially confusing, which is why people wind up THINKING they are walking in a straight line, but actually walk in circles. Again, just stay put.

But the most interesting tidbit? Generally speaking, women seem to navigate by using landmarks, while men tend to use cardinal directions (NE, SW, etc…). I find this to be true — what do you think?

In any case, if this topic interests you, you might want to check out Ellard’s new book, “You Are Here: Why We Can Find Our Way to the Moon, but Get Lost in the Mall.”

And if you’re going hiking and are concerned about getting lost, make sure you’re always prepared with the 10 Essentials, including that ever-important compass.

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